Looking ahead: What’s on the horizon in Maricopa for 2023?

Cold Beers & Cheesburgers, a sit-down restaurant, is planning to open in March. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

As the new year begins, InMaricopa asked community leaders what 2023 may bring.

Here are their thoughts:



Nancy Smith, Mayor of Maricopa

Here is my Top 10 List of what I hope to see in 2023:

  • Serious discussions and action with ADOT and DPS on public safety with regard to State Route 347.
  • Phoenix Surf continues to progress into a wonderful entertainment center for our residents.
  • State legislators remember to manage their budget without impacting cities’ budgets, keeping these decisions local.
  • State legislators remember planning and zoning remains a local decision, not a state decision.
  • The city reduces its primary property-tax rate again.
  • Maricopa Economic Development Alliance and the city land an exciting opportunity for job creation.
  • Lowe’s and/or Home Depot join our city.
  • The city continues to see growth in retail, restaurants and health services.
  • Our new fire chief and new police chief have great success keeping our city in the top-5 safest cities in Arizona.
  • All of our Maricopa schools continue to raise their grades, providing the best education to our students.



Teresa Martinez, LD 16 Representative, Arizona Legislature Majority Whip

First of all, my top legislative priority is State Routes 347 and 238.

For Maricopa, I see more people moving in and housing will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. I do see some really good-paying jobs coming to the area and I’m excited about that.

Statewide, we will face some uneasy times. High Inflation is a very serious concern of mine. Everything is getting more expensive, and I fear food costs (among others, like household supplies, baby formula and appliances) will drastically increase. Like many of you, I have to really budget and make every dollar count. That’s why we at the state are focusing on doing all we can to help.

I know together we will make great things happen!



By Dr. Tracey Lopeman, Superintendent of Maricopa Unified School District

On the horizon for 2023:

Foundation in reading, writing and math signature programs

Capitalizing on new skills, our teachers will invest in methodologies that reinforce MUSD traditions of rigor and relationships. We seek to build a foundation that paves multiple paths to graduation and doubles down on fundamentals of academic success in all grade levels with emphasis on:

  • Preschool.
  • Focus on phonics.
  • Science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
  • Arts.
  • Accelerated elementary.
  • Dual-language immersion.
  • 20+1 blended learning.

College readiness and workforce development

Our city and county partners have told us the critical skills they need in their employees. Accordingly, we’ll have a robust offering of career and technical-education certification programs. Graduates will be ready for work the day after graduation. Our College Prep investments include:

  • Bio-tech science.
  • Emergency medical services.
  • Early childhood.
  • Finance.
  • Hospitality and tourism.
  • Auto tech.
  • Network security.
  • Digital photography.
  • Honors, AP and AP capstone.

Planning for growth

The challenges of rapid growth bring opportunities to collaborate with our community. Our parents and community can be confident we will:

  • Preserve class size.
  • Maximize space.
  • Complete Phase II construction at Desert Sunrise High School.



By Rachel Leffall, Community advocate on city boards and commissions

 I see multiple opportunities on the horizon for people of color to best be represented in Maricopa in the coming year. It starts with continued participation, both at the city and from diverse populations: participation in diversity awareness and action, as well as participation in community involvement and civic responsibility.

The city has a responsibility to actively function in the best interest of all its citizens and citizens have a responsibility to actively engage in the community, focusing on the common good.

The city can work toward a more inclusive environment by:

•  Improving diversity training to reduce systemic racial stigmas.

  • Recognizing and publicly denouncing actions that historically and continuously impact people of color.
  • Celebrating freedoms from oppressive policies and brutalities.
  • Working with diverse populations to seek citizen input to identify issues, develop measurable and actionable objectives, implement plans to accomplish goals, measure progress and adjust as necessary and continue efforts without pause.
  • Include people of color in city imagery (architectural design renderings, events, etc.).

Citizens can work toward a more inclusive environment by:

  • Practicing civic engagement through voting and community involvement.
  • Utilizing city communication channels to stay informed and voice concerns.
  • Report issues as well as commendations for correction/acknowledgement and provide constructive feedback on ways to improve diversity.

It is imperative that we move toward an inclusive environment without dilution (perceived or actual) of any race.



By Helen Simmons, Director, Molly’s House of Little Feet

In 2023, we must pay close attention to our youth. All of us must start paying attention to our children. They are crying out for our help and we are not listening.

They are turning to social media for their answers to questions we have lived through. They feel as if they cannot talk to their own parents because they are scared of their response.

As a family, we must start showing them our hearts are open. We need to actually start listening. Pay attention to the things they don’t believe you are paying attention to.

In 2023, let’s release some of this so-called depression. It is real only because we allow it to be real.

I fight demons on a daily basis, so I need all of my children to know they are not alone and we are here. We have been through what you have been through. We have cried your tears. Let us help you.

Because of where we are now in this society, it’s going to take a lot of persistence and motivation to keep our youth going. It’s going to take more of us being involved.

Let’s come together to show our children we are listening. They are not alone. They deserve at least that much. Can we do that for them? They are waiting. Let us choose to listen.